By this point, some of you are probably wondering how The Ballad of Gay Tony meshes with the larger GTA IV narrative. We already know that the game opens in the bank during the Three Leaf Clover mission, and you can probably guess that you’ll eventually play through Luis’ side of the museum mission, which is a hell of a lot easier than what Niko and Johnny had to go through. You’ll also get into a firefight with Johnny’s gang over the series’ ill-fated diamonds, and later head to Charge Island with Tony to exchange those same diamonds for kidnapped Mob brat Gracie Ancelotti.
Above: It’s not because you particularly like her, either
For fans, though, half the fun will be in seeing the motivations behind these events and coming away with a full picture of what was really happening the whole time. Ballad of Gay Tony also ties up a lot of the loose threads left dangling by GTA IV, such as what happened to Bulgarin and where, ultimately, the diamonds ended up.
It’s also interesting to note that Ballad of Gay Tony holds up a fun-house mirror to GTA IV, in that a lot of its new or expanded characters are what earlier characters aspired to be. Billionaire developer Yusuf Aziz, with his fleet of helicopters, bottomless finances and tacky sensibilities, is what Playboy X (and to some degree, Roman) would have become with more money.
Above: Playboy wishes he could be this rich. Roman wishes he could be this obnoxious
The same could be said of Bulgarin (who’s insanely wealthy) and the comparatively insignificant Mikhail Faustin and Dmitri Rascalov. But the most blatant example is Mori Kibbutz, a sawed-off little bully who clearly provided the frat-boy template from which Brucie’s been working this whole time, and next to whom poor Brucie looks absolutely pathetic.
And Luis, for his part, represents the best that GTA IV’s other anti-heroes could possibly hope for: even after clawing his way to the top, he’s still just an errand boy for greedy sociopaths.
That just leaves one burning question about the plot: